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Planning for the future

Are You Saving Enough for Retirement?

The freedom of independent work has one downside: An employer isn’t helping you save for retirement. It’s never too late/too early to create a personal retirement plan.

NEW YORK – Most Americans gives themselves a grade of C or lower when it comes to saving for retirement, according to a new study from TD Ameritrade. The number of Americans who give themselves an A (12%) is equal to those who give themselves an F.

Real estate pros, many of whom are independent contractors, have a burden not shared by their fully employed friends: They must map out their own retirement plan without the advantage of an employers’ 401(k) offerings.

The Motley Fool, a financial and investing advice resource, offers some advice on how to turn around your retirement savings. For one, it suggests that you start by figuring out how much you need on a monthly or annual basis. Nearly 60% of Americans say they don’t know how much money they’ll need for retirement.

The Motley Fool offers one way to estimate this amount: “Those close to retirement can make a budget to see what income they’ll need, then subtract projected Social Security benefits to figure out what their savings must provide. If you multiply that amount by 25, you’ll get a good idea of the total you should save.”

Once a pre-retiree has an income number in mind, they can access online calculators to see how much they need to save each month to reach their goal. Access one such online calculator from Investor.gov.

Financial analysts stress the importance of setting up automated contributions to a retirement account.

“If you have a 401(k) at work, talk with HR or the account administrator to set up your desired contribution,” The Motley Fool article suggests. “If you don’t have a 401(k), you can set up automatic contributions to an IRA through your bank or brokerage firm. Once you have your automatic contribution in place, don’t change it unless you’re increasing it.”

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